Saturday, March 28, 2009


Lulu Embraces a Domestic Art

We're in a strange phase here at the Casa de Lulu y Su Esposa: glad that our guy is in the White House but impatient at the endless nattering that goes on about him. As I mentioned a post or two ago, my retirement is in the hands of the most odious of institutions, and each new mention of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers reminds me of all the other horrible sounds in the world, all hideously recorded in our conscious and unconscious aural vocabularies.

My spouse can't bear full newspapers in the house very often. I don't wanna be a consumer. What's an American to do?

I quilt.

Those of you who've never met me, say Oh, Lulu is a quilter. Those of you who've known me for years say, "You whaaaaaat?"

When I was a kid, I only took the Home Ec I was forced to take--you know, when the boys were off taking Shop. I got a D and never finished the fucking apron.

When I graduated from college, my mother gave me a sewing machine as a grad gift. I was incredulous (such a nice, grateful daughter). I was afraid that she was trying to turn me into Tricia Nixon. I never used the machine. It finally froze when its lubricants solidified.

So you see, this is all new. But then, what is life for, if not challenging stale assumptions?

It began innocently enough. We were looking for a better bed for the Maddie-dog. Last time I bought something online. The zipper to the cover broke the first time I washed it. The egg-carton foam sagged after a while. We looked around here for a bed, didn't like anything, and decided to go to the local fabric store in search of good, thick foam rubber and cloth. We'd stitch something up.

I'd bought a little sewing machine sometime around the end of my consuming period, an off the wall purchase if ever there was one. I pulled if off the bookshelf to whip up the bed.

Lo and behold, it was kind of fun. So I finished the bed and went back to the fabric store for
another project. Decided that a warm cape for spouse's mama made sense, since she's in a wheelchair and sleeves are a drag. Made the cape. Here's a picture of it on her 95th birthday. She actually likes it very much. She just belongs to a very strict cult that absolutely forbids smiling for photographs. You can see that her daughter escaped the cult.

Then to the quilts. My good friend Susan and I had flirted with learning quilting last year. I've been drawn to the fellowship of women passing on this art for some time. Saw Bridget Fonda's film, The Quilters of Gee's Bend and was really touched. Somehow Susan and I got discouraged and we bagged it. This year I got some books from the library and struck out on my own and along the way bought a better sewing machine on eBay. So now I rotary cut and sew away. A friend at the library steered me to a quilting group at the senior center down the hill.

Last week I finally went down there with my many blocks (as they are called), about a dozen of which I'd sewn together. I emerged a couple of hours later with all of them separated by a seam ripper after some instruction by a very nice woman named Mary in Squaring the Block. I now must Square the Blocks before I sew them together again.

Whatever. It's fun or it's learning, right?

I will make this first project as a new bedspread. Then, after I've gotten some skills, I'll make a couple for some very long-time friends. After that, who knows? I look at quilting magazines and read quilting books and marvel at the longevity of interest and the skills that come from such an enduring relationship to the art. For me, I can't imagine. A couple of months ago I didn't even sew. Mama, I say to the heavens, I hope you can see this.

For now it's just fine. I'm all for Obama finding his feet without my constant criticism. Can we all remember that he's in his first weeks? I get all these angry emails from friends (mostly forwards) criticizing his every move and non-move.

We don't talk about that down at the Senior Center. We talk about Squaring the Block.

That's something I can be responsible for.

Does your quilt group have a name?
The Sew Whats or something fun like that??

We all need a place to chill.
At some point you do have to step back from "reality" and take a break. Shit happens.
Politics are strange & you have to be somewhat crazy to even be in that game.

I'm not nitpicking every little thing, but there are some big things happening that have my dander up.
I think I posted about it creatively.

Anyway... we participated in the Earth hour sat night.
We turned off, lit candles & did some shamanic drumming & meditative stuff, thinking of healing for the planet.

It was lovely, really.

It should be done more often.

So enjoy the quilting.... there are some amazing quilters in Oregon.... they actually do masterpiece art designs in fabric.
At first I thought like Ms Zipdrive, "You Whaaaat?" But then I remembered how much I treasure the quilt made for me by my third husband's grandmother. I love it so much I've stopped using it and have it tucked away in my cedar chest. But now that I am actually old, I think I should start using it again. It's lovely and I have denied myself the pleasure of it in the guise of protecting it. But what is the quilt, made with loving, skilled, ancient hands just for me doing hidden away in a cedar chest? I will pull it out today and put it on my bed. I thought it was Spring, but we are having a snow storm and it's cold. Hettie's quilt will warm my chilled bones.

And every time I hear the critics bashing Obama I want to tear my hair out. Let's chill out and let the man do what he told us he was going to do. We did indeed vote him into office with a grand and unquestionable majority. Now let's shut up and listen.
I have a few artsy friends who quilt and I've seen some pretty amazing patterns and color combinations.
My favorites are patterns that are inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement, especially Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright's geometric designs.
You g,o girl.
Damn if I didn't love this post Lulu. Especially this line:

I got a D and never finished the fucking apron. I had a mom that went to the mats for me..I got to take shop..fuck that Home Ec shit. ;)
Lulu..your thoughts on the VT same-sex marriage bill?

How can you guys have a Rethuglican Governor who will veto this bil?
oh good for you..and I love the cape for your mom...and quilting is is an art...go for are so creative I was not surprized at all...
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